"Lunchtime" cartoon

“Euthanize, dispatch, harvest and cull … it's about time these polite words are changed to the harsher word, murder, because that's what it really is.” — "Murdering Animals: A Book About Social and Species Justice" by Piers Beirne, criminologist 

As this column goes online, there have been 33 days of killing 3,835 Wisconsin black bears indiscriminately over packs of dogs and bait, by mobs of men, women and children. It is gut-wrenching and inexcusable. Then the “success” rate will be tallied, the bear teeth age-assessed. The taxidermists will turn the bears into grimacing half bears over Styrofoam. Bear rugs will be made of once living beings. Later these gruesome body parts will end up, ratty and tattered, at auctions and garage sales.

We are in uncharted territory of extinction of a million species — half of the species identified on earth. Two-thirds of wildlife across the world have been disappeared by humans since the 1970s. Yet state and federal wildlife management continues to expand, recruit and export killing wildlife.

Wildlife destruction and climate change are not linear. They do not continue steadily but exponentially. Wildlife, plants and trees are interdependent systems. When they cannot find what they need, cannot migrate fast enough under rapid climate changes and are pushed out by concrete, houses, roads and people, they die out.

Science has shown us the peaceful nature of bears living in harmony with their shrinking environment and how their scat carries seeds of regeneration across the forests. Science has shown the social awareness, interdependence, and grief of animals with death of their kin. History will blast this time of cruelty as barbaric and unforgivable as the beautiful world we have known is destroyed heartlessly by us.

In his book, "Murdering Animals," Piers Beirne writes of the privileging of the human animal over other animals, and the “denial, ignorance and schooled indifference" in human “one-on-one cruelty and neglect; vivisection; hunting and blood sports; the destruction of wildlife habitat; the lethal trade in wildlife and animal body parts; state and state-corporate theriocide (killing of non-human animals by human choices); factory farming; and war and militarism.”

This column deals primarily with state and state-corporate mass murder of our wildlife. The state, by funding and political choice of structure, excludes the input of 90% non-killing citizens in Wisconsin and in states across the country. Non-hunters have been indoctrinated by decades of “outdoors” pages that recreational fun killing of our wildlife is normal.

And as human hunters control the systems of government, they want to be the only predators. So as moose, elk, deer and caribou numbers decline in North America, it is not hunters who curb their own killing. They are recruiting to keep their exclusive power. It is natural predators who take the brunt of even more killing. Thus hunters can kill both natural predators and prey, never holding themselves accountable for the declines.

In an article, “Wildlife Management: When Forest Wails and Mourns," Gosia Brjia, a wildlife conservationist and proponent of compassionate conservation, quotes John Livingston’s 1981 book, "The Fallacy of Wildlife Conservation," cautioning “against the fallacy of turning the Earth’s fabric into a ‘natural resource.'” She writes, “Under the guise of fostering ‘conservation,' we have concocted a management approach that gives us a license to discard a delicate assembly of life as if it were a lump of coal.”

Brjia writes about killing wolves: “What remains hidden from all of us, living far away from the land of the wolf, is individual suffering to which, through our political indifference, we implicitly consent. What we do not see is paralyzing anguish, pain, and psychological trauma that comes in the aftermath of the shattered family structure. Death destroys even those who survive. After a killing spree is temporarily over, surviving wolves return to mourn a loss. They also face a world unknown to them. As Marc Bekoff and Sadie Parr write, ‘those individuals that survive to make new wolf families must do so without access to the knowledge and culture held by their slain family members, something that takes generations to build. They become refugees on their own land.’”

Human concern for other animals is growing. In a recent Gallup poll:

• A third of Americans want animals to have same rights as people

• Support for this view up from 25% in 2008

• Majority, 62%, say animals deserve "some protection"

Wisconsin’s own Adrian Treves, Francisco Santiago-Avila, and W.S. Lynn of the Nelson Institute have written a paper titled “Just Preservation."

Part of their summary:

“We are failing to protect the biosphere. Novel views of conservation, preservation, and sustainability are surfacing in the wake of consensus about our failures to prevent extinction or slow climate change. We argue that the interests and well-being of non-humans, youth, and future generations of both human and non-human beings (futurity) have too long been ignored in consensus-based, anthropocentric conservation. Consensus-based stakeholder-driven processes disadvantage those absent or without a voice and allow current adult humans and narrow, exploitative interests to dominate decisions about the use of nature over its preservation for futurity of all life. We propose that authentically non-anthropocentric worldviews that incorporate multispecies justice are needed for a legitimate, deliberative, and truly democratic process of adjudication between competing interests in balancing the preservation and use of nature.”

Become an active part of the solution. Become deeply aware, deeply compassionate and deeply connected to the animals who deserve our partnership, our love and support.

The Green New Deal to save earth must include nothing short of revolution to compassionate partnership and democracy in governing the web of all life.

Action Alert:

Marc Bekoff, professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, says, “Silence is not golden — it is deadly.”

Heartbreaking! Pod of Taiji dolphins trapped in cove huddled together for comfort before slaughter — 1,700 will be killed — please watch the video and sign and network the petition.

See how humans are harming and extinguishing the world’s animals.

The Endangered Species Coalition sponsors a number of petitions that you can sign and network here.

Other campaigns and petitions can be found here.

Patricia Randolph of Portage is a longtime activist for wildlife. madravenspeak@gmail.com or www.wiwildlifeethic.org

Share your opinion on this topic by sending a letter to the editor to tctvoice@madison.com. Include your full name, hometown and phone number. Your name and town will be published. The phone number is for verification purposes only. Please keep your letter to 250 words or less.

Subscribe to our newsletters

* indicates required

View previous campaigns.